The secret to well-flavored, well-seasoned dishes often lies in the utilization of fresh herbs. Healthy and delicious, herbs are a fantastic way to add flavor—and not a lot of fat or calories—to a wide range of palate-pleasing recipes.
One of the most popular herbs is basil, a flavorful, aromatic green herb that is commonly used in Thai and Mediterranean cuisines. Blended with pine nuts, heart-healthy olive oil and Parmesan cheese, basil serves as the primary ingredient in pesto, a brightly colored, vibrantly flavored, wonderfully fragrant fresh sauce that is sensational with everything from grilled salmon to whole wheat pasta.
And basil is an herb you can feel great about enjoying. Through its concentration of carotenoids like beta-carotene, basil contains nutrients believed to help protect certain cells from free radical damage. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, caused in part by free radical damage, may be less severe when foods containing beta-carotene are enjoyed.
Here are some other beneficial vitamins and nutrients found in this fragrant and flavorful herb:
The bright flavor of basil pairs wonderfully well with an array of fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, artichokes, onions and leafy greens. Fresh basil adds a fantastic depth of flavor to green salads and healthy stir-fries. Include basil in a variety of refreshingly delicious recipes to make your menu shine. It is delectable when tossed with crisp, refreshing cabbage and buttery cashews for a tasty homemade Thai-inspired slaw, or serve basil layered with sliced ripe tomatoes and creamy fresh mozzarella for a mouthwatering appetizer, salad or light supper that's bursting with the fresh flavors of Italy.